June 1 - Amateur video purports to show the funeral of a Syrian boy who has emerged as a symbol for protesters. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Amateur video from the town of Al Jeeza, Syria shows a funeral march for a 13 year-old child activist. The footage, which could not be independently verified by Reuters shows a body carried through the streets. Activists say 13 year old Hamza al-Khatib was tortured and killed by government forces. He has become a powerful symbol of the resistance against president Bashar al-Assad. The government says the 13-year old was never tortured and that he died in a demonstration in which armed gangs shot at guards. Children now add their voices to the demonstrations. They call for the president to leave. They say their brothers have been killed and they are sad. Rights groups say 1,000 civilians have been killed in the crackdown as Assad seeks to crush a revolt which has turned into the gravest challenge to his 11-year rule. Assad has issued decrees aimed at appeasing public grievances. The opposition say they would not change the nature of the regime in which arbitrary arrests, beatings and torture of political detainees are common. Syria's State news agency said Wednesday Assad ordered the formation of a committee to set up a framework for national dialogue. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters